Merry Christmas NiGHTS

NiGHTS into Dreams for the Saturn brings to mind the topic of games as art. Not only because the game has artistic value, though. Fans of the title have been calling for a sequel from the second the original was released. Yuji Naka, the leader of the project, contemplated giving fans what they want but then decided NiGHTS should stand alone.

So what does this have to do with art? Gamers’ have the attitude that games are made for them and developers should value the input of their fans. This works nicely as long as we assume games are merely consumer products. But what if we hold that games are art? Doesn’t that make developers artists? It’s one thing to hope your favorite band makes more music you enjoy, but to demand they output exactly what you want to hear and to feel entitled to this is bizarre. →  Read the rest

Yuji Naka to leave Sega?

Word on the street is Yuji Naka may leave Sega to start his own company. Naka is Sega’s most well known employee primarily because he was behind the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. His programming wizardry combined with Naoto Oshima edgy and xtreme character design and Hirokazu Yasuhara’s excellent level design (hold right to win) created a game that arguably made Sega what it is today. Naka also programmed Phantasy Star, a technical marvel for an 8-bit console and the first game to include an enemy who vomits on you.

body language tells all
Smug as smug can be.

Perhaps the most beloved game Naka produced is NiGHTS into Dreams, which was both one of the Saturn’s best game’s and an admission that the system could not pull off 3D like its competitors. →  Read the rest

Idol Worship: Bo and Ippo

An extension of the Best Game Ever column, this new space allows me to not just love and gush over my favorite games, but caress and manhandle some of the people who made my favorite games. An obvious first choice would be someone like Shigeru Miyamoto, Yuji Naka, Sid Meier, or Will Wright, but that wouldn’t be very exciting and where’s the elitism and snobbery in picking someone everyone already knows? Their days may still yet come in the pages of Idol Worship, but for now we will examine two little known composers who worked for Sega in their golden age, Tokuhiko Uwabo and Izuho Takeuchi, better known as Bo and Ippo (well, to me at least).

Sega, like Atari, refused to give credit to their staff well into the 90’s. →  Read the rest